Skip to comments.How Intelligent Design Hurts Conservatives (By making us look like crackpots)
Posted on 08/18/2005 5:17:34 PM PDT by curiosity
The appeal of "intelligent design" to the American right is obvious. For religious conservatives, the theory promises to uncover God's fingerprints on the building blocks of life. For conservative intellectuals in general, it offers hope that Darwinism will yet join Marxism and Freudianism in the dustbin of pseudoscience. And for politicians like George W. Bush, there's little to be lost in expressing a skepticism about evolution that's shared by millions.
In the long run, though, intelligent design will probably prove a political boon to liberals, and a poisoned chalice for conservatives. Like the evolution wars in the early part of the last century, the design debate offers liberals the opportunity to portray every scientific battle--today, stem-cell research, "therapeutic" cloning, and end-of-life issues; tomorrow, perhaps, large-scale genetic engineering--as a face-off between scientific rigor and religious fundamentalism. There's already a public perception, nurtured by the media and by scientists themselves, that conservatives oppose the "scientific" position on most bioethical issues. Once intelligent design runs out of steam, leaving its conservative defenders marooned in a dinner-theater version of Inherit the Wind, this liberal advantage is likely to swell considerably.
And intelligent design will run out of steam--a victim of its own grand ambitions. What began as a critique of Darwinian theory, pointing out aspects of biological life that modification-through-natural-selection has difficulty explaining, is now foolishly proposed as an alternative to Darwinism. On this front, intelligent design fails conspicuously--as even defenders like Rick Santorum are beginning to realize--because it can't offer a consistent, coherent, and testable story of how life developed. The "design inference" is a philosophical point, not a scientific theory: Even if the existence of a designer is a reasonable inference to draw from the complexity of, say, a bacterial flagellum, one would still need to explain how the flagellum moved from design to actuality.
And unless George W. Bush imposes intelligent design on American schools by fiat and orders the scientific establishment to recant its support for Darwin, intelligent design will eventually collapse--like other assaults on evolution that failed to offer an alternative--under the weight of its own overreaching.
If liberals play their cards right, this collapse could provide them with a powerful rhetorical bludgeon. Take the stem-cell debate, where the great questions are moral, not scientific--whether embryonic human life should be created and destroyed to prolong adult human life. Liberals might win that argument on the merits, but it's by no means a sure thing. The conservative embrace of intelligent design, however, reshapes the ideological battlefield. It helps liberals cast the debate as an argument about science, rather than morality, and paint their enemies as a collection of book-burning, Galileo-silencing fanatics.
This would be the liberal line of argument anyway, even without the controversy surrounding intelligent design. "The president is trapped between religion and science over stem cells," declared a Newsweek cover story last year; "Religion shouldn't undercut new science," the San Francisco Chronicle insisted; "Leadership in 'therapeutic cloning' has shifted abroad," the New York Times warned, because American scientists have been "hamstrung" by "religious opposition"--and so on and so forth. But liberalism's science-versus-religion rhetoric is only likely to grow more effective if conservatives continue to play into the stereotype by lining up to take potshots at Darwin.
Already, savvy liberal pundits are linking bioethics to the intelligent design debate. "In a world where Koreans are cloning dogs," Slate's Jacob Weisberg wrote last week, "can the U.S. afford--ethically or economically--to raise our children on fraudulent biology?" (Message: If you're for Darwin, you're automatically for unfettered cloning research.) Or again, this week's TNR makes the pretty-much-airtight "case against intelligent design"; last week, the magazine called opponents of embryo-destroying stem cell research "flat-earthers." The suggested parallel is obvious: "Science" is on the side of evolution and on the side of embryo-killing.
Maureen Dowd, in her inimitable way, summed up the liberal argument earlier this year:
Exploiting God for political ends has set off powerful, scary forces in America: a retreat on teaching evolution, most recently in Kansas; fights over sex education . . . a demonizing of gays; and a fear of stem cell research, which could lead to more of a "culture of life" than keeping one vegetative woman hooked up to a feeding tube.
Terri Schiavo, sex education, stem cell research--on any issue that remotely touches on science, a GOP that's obsessed with downing Darwin will be easily tagged as medieval, reactionary, theocratic. And this formula can be applied to every new bioethical dilemma that comes down the pike. Earlier this year, for instance, the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) issued ethical guidelines for research cloning, which blessed the creation of human-animal "chimeras"--animals seeded with human cells. New York Times reporter Nicholas Wade, writing on the guidelines, declared that popular repugnance at the idea of such creatures is based on "the pre-Darwinian notion that species are fixed and penalties [for cross-breeding] are severe." In other words, if you're opposed to creating pig-men--carefully, of course, with safeguards in place (the NAS guidelines suggested that chimeric animals be forbidden from mating)--you're probably stuck back in the pre-Darwinian ooze with Bishop Wilberforce and William Jennings Bryan.
There's an odd reversal-of-roles at work here. In the past, it was often the right that tried to draw societal implications from Darwinism, and the left that stood against them. And for understandable reasons: When people draw political conclusions from Darwin's theory, they're nearly always inegalitarian conclusions. Hence social Darwinism, hence scientific racism, hence eugenics.
Which is why however useful intelligent design may be as a rhetorical ploy, liberals eager to claim the mantle of science in the bioethics battle should beware. The left often thinks of modern science as a child of liberalism, but if anything, the reverse is true. And what scientific thought helped to forge--the belief that all human beings are equal--scientific thought can undermine as well. Conservatives may be wrong about evolution, but they aren't necessarily wrong about the dangers of using Darwin, or the National Academy of Sciences, as a guide to political and moral order.
Students are free to pursue Religious Studies as they wish. But Religious Studies do not lead to a Bachelor of Science in Engineering or Biology.
The battle reminds me a lot of the censors in Iran who urged translators of western literature to substitue words to make the literature more acceptable. One example in Reading Lolita in Iran was the taking of the word "wine" out of I do believe a Henry James novel.
This is very similar to the Madrassas if you ask me. Just a matter of degree.
You are vile to call him vile. And how do you know what Jesus thinks of evolution? You got some kind of pipeline?
How many people would actually believe it? Won't their be any naysayers? Why do you imply there will be a "winner takes all" outcome to the struggle between evolutionists and IDers?
But here is my underlying question
As I've said above, ID is news to me. For 40 years I've been comfortable with a personal belief that any evolution that has taken place has occurred within a Universe set up by God, which operates according to His rules.
I'm an average person, who's skeptical of people who need to pound their opponents into the ground.
Like other average people, I find it necessary to cover my ears, when someone is ranting.
The evolutionists need PR lessons.
Because the ID movement involves a religious belief that God is on their side, the real poor PR is their movement, founded on a lie. They are fascist at heart. And if you read this thread the insults hurled at anyone who differs with them are shocking. For so called Christians.
I do believe one poster last night referred to the second coming and taunted one who differed with him on ID that one day we would all be on our knees. Now that is his belief. But it was bullying and hateful.
That has no place in a study of Science.
You made a claim, but now you refuse to back it up with evidence.
That would lead an objective observer to conclude that there is no evidence for your claim, other than your opinion.
What you were taught is not relevant. I quoted the text from my son's 2002 Biology textbook. The terms are being taught now.
And watch your language.
Do you have a reference for this? Thanks.
It's not a play on words, it's a fact.
If you want your child to have moral teaching you can choose private education. Parents must be creative.
You are just throwing out pseudo intellectual gobbledygook, and when you are called on it you just want to throw a little tantrum about it. You are engaged in the philosophical equivalent of stopping your heels. That might have worked with Daddy, but that does not work in th real world at all.
There is no thought with out metaphysics, and there is not civilization without ethics.
Your fellow citizens will have their say, get used to it, sister. You need to understand that, as you need to get over your self importance - what do you think, you just pontificate and everyone that disagrees with you just goes away?
Too bad about that ego of yours - the immaturity too.
Are you or are you not free to choose your child's private education?
That takes a fair amount of background in biology to explain.
I agree completely.
Madrassas or our own Medieval period.
ID has nothing to do with theology.
Sorry, but all that shows is the effect of memetics. If you want to win your point, show me a biology text from pre-1980 that uses "micro" and "macro".
"And watch your language."
I say exactly what I mean--it's called "plain talk".
Natural theology, Like Plato's
ID is more applicable to UFO's than to either science or theology. Complexity can be found in countless lifeless entities.
Speaking of insults and hatefulness....I wonder how many Freepers took a look at the title of this thread....
and decided they didn't need to be aggravated, so they skipped this thread entirely.
I think I am being helpful to the evolutionists, by letting them know that they aren't helping their cause by being "unscientifically" emotional.
If fact it is cognitively, intellectually, socially and politically impossible to have "freedom from religion,"
Our entire internal world, our civilization and our political foundations are deeply shaped and informed by it. Too suggest otherwise is just preposterous, and a thoroughly narcissistic and solipsistic understanding of what civilization is, or what the human is.
Likewise you notion of "choosing your children's private education is both spurious and specious.
1) Why should parents be forced to withdraw from public schools rather than decide to change them? Are the not coerced in to supporting them? Are they mere serf? hardly seems democratic or "public" to me.
2) There are no value neutral curriculum - they do not exist in a vacuum. Some group of people decide these things, and that group promotes its own believes and agenda. It is intellectually dishonest to suggest otjherwise, and it is arrogant for you to imagine that you have the right to foist your believe system on others without any political form or political outcome.
3) Secular humanism and Socialism are really just other belief systems and apply a quasi-supernatural mandate to their core beliefs as well. "Socialist man," Scientific materialism, "Scientism" or even the efficacy of reason as an ultimate moral arbiter are no less mystical or religious assertions than a belief in the Virgin Mary, and a great deal more harmful, I might add. Nothing could be clearer from the history of the 20th century.
4) In principle, no, parents cannot chose if there are economic. geographic or logistical limitations placed on them. This is a particularly specious formulation, and for obvious reasons.
5) You assume that your position is the majority position birth nationally and regionally. I fail to see how this is so.
So, based on what you have articulated, I find you position faulty in its whole and its parts, and not a serious position whatsoever.
This is still a free country, thank goodness.
Yes, you do have the freedom to be creative with your child's private education.
At least for now.
The university's physicists and mathematical biologists are creating a dynamic interface between physical and biological disciplines that is already leading to fruitful new approaches to biological problems as well as new directions in physics.
Theoretical and experimental condensed matter physicists at Rockefeller contributed heavily to the recent vanguard in nonlinear dynamics, which they apply to the analysis of biological systems. Other studies conducted by physicists at Rockefeller hone existing tools such as information and systems theory, statistics and probability theory in order to examine biological problems.
You in fact completely ignored it.
Do you think this is just an echo chamber?
Why even bother with you?
And no, it is not a free country when the NEA and the Left controls the public school system. That is just the point.
I forget names, but I saw an article about him within the last two months. Apparently he's one of the largest donors to the Discovery Institute (which to it's credit does other valuable conservative things outside of attacking evolution). Apparently this guy is a gung ho creationist among other things, and just like the lefty non-profits do what their donors want, DI does as well.
Money is money.
You may be missing my point.
You have far more creative power than you realize.
You are an individual, not a pawn of the left.
The only proof of any such miracles is the Bible. That is hardly what I would call an unbiased source.
Jesus was killed for, and while, proclaiming Himself to be the one true God, and the only path to God.
Jesus was killed for getting involved in a complicated political, imperial, religious, social and colonial situation. In all honesty, the Romans didn't care that he proclaimed that there was only one God. In their mind, he was just another crackpot in Judea.
Jesus resurrected himself, and that event was reliably witnessed by hundreds of people.
Again, the only source for this claim is the Bible.
Countless people have accepted Jesus' words as truth, and have found that simply by doing so, amazing things have occured in their lives.
That can be said of any other religion. Even Islam.
Receding from that fight in that square may be "creative," but it is most certainly cowardly.
Lastly, you have no notion of the depths of my creativity.
"...For 40 years I've been comfortable with a personal belief that any evolution that has taken place has occurred within a Universe set up by God, which operates according to His rules...."
Seems totally reasonable to me.
"...Why are evolutionists using overkill and using personal attacks on IDers?.."
The word "evolutionist" is usually used as an epithet implying an unreasonable belief in evolution, sort of like being a fan of some losing sports team (notice howI carefully avoid naming one. Most of the posters I read defending the correctness of evolution are scientists or engineers. Most of the opposition seems to come from those not educated any relevant field.
What type of PR lessons would you suggest?
Well, I don't believe in intelligent design myself. But I'm curious how it makes conservatives look like crackpots in comparison to what many liberals believe:
That America is inherently evil
That abortion is a right but capital punishment is wrong
That it's wrong to pray in school but vital to teach homosexuality
That illegal aliens haven't done anything illegal
That it's a good idea to create diversity of languages and cultures, even though every multicultural country in the past has disintegrated.
I could go on, but there's only so much bandwidth in the world.
As related to body size, our brain is bigger than the brains of most other animals on the planet.
Your brain requires a lot of energy to keep it alive. So, from an evolutionary point of view, a large brain is a double-edged sword. For most animals, evolution has taken them into a different direction where the process of evolution towards sentience is unlikely.
What would, for example, push horse species' into developing higher intelligence?
Then.. I guess..
Freedom of speech also means freedom from speech
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.If we looked at it that way, we'd be an awfully quiet country.
I almost forgot
Freedom of the press also means freedom from the press.
Having no newspapers would be a small loss...many of the more ossified papers are going the way of the dinosaurs, anyway.
Our demonstration over societal impositions must be on an individual basis first, wouldn't you agree?
The depths of your creativity are infinite.
And how do you know what Jesus thinks of evolution? You got some kind of pipeline?
And how do you know what Jesus thinks of evolution? You got some kind of pipeline?
You learn how Christ feels about evolution by refering to "original sources." (ie. Scripture) Within those sources you'll find Christ making the most adamant statements endorsing the Word of God and creation.That is the pipeline:
"Haven't you read," He replied, "that He who created them in the beginning made them male and female." Then, lest you suggest this is not an unqualified declarative statement about God's creative act Christ goes further, "For this reason (ie. creation of the two sexes and by extension the institiution of marriage) a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife . . ."
I challenge you then to try them all and tell me about your experience.
I'd be real interested in the result.
js1138: This is a fundamentally incorrect characterization of evolution.
How so? If man evolved from primate, I assume you would say that this is a step in the higher complexity direction? How does a troglodyte become modern man? Is this not a move toward complexity. How do single cell creatures become multi-cell? The whole foundation of Darwinism must rely on this assumption. Can you name a creature that has de-volved??? Is de-evolution the norm?? Please explain in more detail my improper assumptions...
Why would I want to do that?
Part of that evolution involved the loss of a prehensile tale as well as a relative loss of strength. So, it's not clear that humans are any more "complex" than their primate ancestors.
Can you name a creature that has de-volved??? Is de-evolution the norm??
There is no such thing as "de-evolution." However, there are plenty of examples of species that have lost certain abilities and/or traits as they have evolved to adapt to their environment. Penguins can't fly. Land-dwelling animals have lost the ability to breathe in water. Hooved animals have seen their fingers and toes merge into one structure. Whales have lost the use of their legs. Fish that live in caves or in the deep oceans have lost the ability to see. Ants, as descendants of wasps, have mostly lost the ability to fly. The list goes on and on.
I would never assume you'd like my religion imposed upon you.
That's what I mean by freedom from religion.
Freedom to choose our own.
That's news to me. Someone should inform the NIH
Here's a listing from one of their pages about Erasmus Darwin...
Physician contributions to nonmedical science: Erasmus Darwin, evolutionist, inventor and poet.
Please explain what mean by "imposing" religion?
Is evolution consistent with Adam and Eve being created on the sixth day?
Is evolution consistent with no death (just human or otherwise) prior to Adam's sin in the Garden of Eden?
Is evolution consistent with the origin of sin and our inherited sin through Adam?
> ping! <
Then why, when I post a creation story like the one below and ask why this version should not be taught in schools, do I usually get a response saying the Hebrew version (i.e., the bible) has attributes which my story lacks, and that only the bible contains the true story of creation? Is this not theology and religion, and one particular version of theology and religion?
Long ago, before there were any people, the world was young and water covered everything. The earth was a great island floating above the seas, suspended by four rawhide ropes representing the four sacred directions. It hung down from the crystal sky. There were no people, but the animals lived in a home above the rainbow. Needing space, they sent Water Beetle to search for room under the seas. Water Beetle dove deep and brought up mud that spread quickly, turning into land that was flat and too soft and wet for the animals to live on.
Grandfather Buzzard was sent to see if the land had hardened. When he flew over the earth, he found the mud had become solid; he flapped in for a closer look. The wind from his wings created valleys and mountains, and that is why the Cherokee territory has so many mountains today.
As the earth stiffened, the animals came down from the rainbow. It was still dark. They needed light, so they pulled the sun out from behind the rainbow, but it was too bright and hot. A solution was urgently needed. The shamans were told to place the sun higher in the sky. A path was made for it to travel--from east to west--so that all inhabitants could share in the light.
The plants were placed upon the earth. The Creator told the plants and animals to stay awake for seven days and seven nights. Only a few animals managed to do so, including the owls and mountain lions, and they were rewarded with the power to see in the dark. Among the plants, only the cedars, spruces, and pines remained awake. The Creator told these plants that they would keep their hair during the winter, while the other plants would lose theirs.
People were created last. The women were able to have babies every seven days. They reproduced so quickly that the Creator feared the world would soon become too crowded. So after that the women could have only one child per year, and it has been that way ever since.
Modernman: "As related to body size, our brain is bigger than the brains of most other animals on the planet. Your brain requires a lot of energy to keep it alive. So, from an evolutionary point of view, a large brain is a double-edged sword."
Well, if I am to believe evolution, our brain was not always so large. Obviously, large brains were superior for survival or they would not have propagated. Why is this not the case for other species??
Modernman: "For most animals, evolution has taken them into a different direction where the process of evolution towards sentience is unlikely."
Even if I am to accept your argument (which has obvious and numerous holes), I must contend that only ONE species has evolved to sentience. Consider that there are thousands of other species of animals, not to mention plants. This evidence does not fit assertions made by Darwinists.
Macro evolution is far from a proven theory. It should be presented as such!!
Modernman:"What would, for example, push horse species' into developing higher intelligence?"
Survival. Is that not the basis for all Darwinistic evolution??? Man could exterminate every horse in the world and they would have no (or very little) power to refuse...
Prove: To establish the truth or validity of by presentation of argument or evidence.
Using the generally-accepted definition above and the fact that we can observe the validity of "micro-evolution" (natural selection and adaptation within the "kind") . . . I say . . . yep! "provable" works quite well.
Ignorant of this pseudo-science called Dawinism/macro-evolution I am not.
I would never assume you'd like my religion presented to your children in a public school format.
I would never assume that your private unfoldment should be publically funded.
No matter what the left attempts to perpetrate, I would never assume I have no choice.
Its my hope you would find Jesus as your savior.
Your incorrect assumption is that evolution has a direction.
The overwhelming bulk of life is single celled. It is doing just fine.
The undelying incorrect assumption is that things that look more complex by your standards are in fact more complex by some mathematically objective standard.